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Articles from 2017 In May

MSC Cruises reveals novel look of its LNG World-class newbuilds

(Rendering: MSC Cruises)
Y-shaped profile increases the percentage of balcony cabins while G bow improves stability and hydrodynamics

MSC Cruises and STX France confirmed these World-class ships in the presence of new French President Emmanuel Macron and Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire on the occasion of MSC Meraviglia's delivery today.

The total order is valued at 4.5bn.

There was no change to the delivery schedule: 2022 and 2024, with the options in 2025 and 2026. Each ship will have 2,760 staterooms and accommodate up to 6,850 passengers—the highest capacity of any cruise ship.

Each ship will stretch 1,083 feet with a beam of 154 feet.

MSC Cruises said the Y-shaped profile will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow—vertically positioned at a 90-degree angle—has been designed to improve stability for passenger comfort and hydrodynamics for fuel efficiency.

Other passenger-centric innovations include family-friendly 'villages,' a panoramic aft and a glass pool lounge.


STX delivers MSC Meraviglia in the presence of France's Macron

(Photo: MSC Cruises)
French President Emmanuel Macron helped Zoe Africa Vago snip a ribbon, sending a Balthazar of Champagne smashing against the hull

French President Emmanuel Macron helped Zoe Africa Vago, the daughter of MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and Alexa Aponte-Vago, snip the ribbon to smash a Balthazar of Champagne on the hull.

Macron also spoke with workers at the yard, which is partly owned by the French state. Italy's Fincantieri is in the process of acquiring a 66.66% stake in STX France from STX Europe.

The 171,598gt MSC Meraviglia, with capacity for 5,714 passengers, is both the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European owner and the largest cruise newbuild to enter service this year. It stretches 315 meters in length, 43 meters at the beam and 65 meters high.

'MSC Meraviglia’s coming into service marks a key milestone in the history and future of our company,' Pierfrancesco Vago said. It is the first of the six new ships due to enter service for MSC Cruises between 2017 and 2020.

Four of those are being built by STX France, reinforcing a long-standing partnership that has already produced all 13 vessels for MSC Cruises, fueling the company's 800% growth from 2003 to 2013.

Vago acknowledged the work of STX France and MSC Cruises' newbuild team in producing MSC Meraviglia. He described a 'galvanized team' of 1,700 workers a month—3,000 a month during peak periods—and more than 400 suppliers and subcontractors involved over the past three years.

For his part, STX France ceo Laurent Castaing noted MSC Meraviglia benefited from research and development advances under the 'Ship of the Future' program supported by ADEME.

'This prototype is a great achievement that we can all be proud of and which allows us to look confidently at the next three ships,' Castaing said.

At a flag ceremony where the shipyard's pennant was lowered and MSC Cruises' flag was raised, Castaing formally handed MSC Meraviglia over to MSC Cruises owner Gianluigi Aponte, who then gave command of the ship to Capt. Raffaele Pontecorvo.

MSC Meraviglia's naming festivities are scheduled for Saturday in Le Havre. The ship will sail its inaugural season in the western Mediterranean.

AIDAnova is first Helios-class newbuild, set for Madeira-Canaries route

(Rendering: AIDA Cruises)
AIDAnova - a pioneering, LNG-propelled cruise ship

The news was announced Wednesday night during a primetime show aboard the new AIDAperla.

AIDAnova will operate a seven-day itinerary from Gran Canaria and Tenerife starting in December 2018. Apart from these islands, the ship will regularly call at Madeira, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

Bookings open Thursday morning.

AIDA's first LNG-propelled cruise ship is considered a pioneering vessel far beyond its brand and the Carnival Group.

The keel is scheduled to be laid in September, with the float-out in August 2018. A huge banner with the ship's name written graffiti-style has been raised at one of Meyer Werft's covered building halls in Papenburg.

AIDAnova continues the 'club cruise' concept focused on the German market, offering amenities including 17 restaurants and 23 bars.

Twenty-one cabin categories will be available, including 53-square-meter penthouse suites for up to five people. The novel junior suites are designed with a private conservatory (winter garden).

Seabourn's 'An Evening with Tim Rice' goes fleetwide

(Photo: Seabourn)
'An Evening with Tim Rice' - in partnership with the acclaimed lyricist and produced and directed by Belinda King

In partnership with the acclaimed lyricist Sir Tim Rice, the show—exclusive to Seabourn—is in association with Belinda King Creative Productions and directed by Belinda King.

Seabourn president Rick Meadows said the company has received 'wonderful feedback' about the show.

'An Evening with Tim Rice' is a concert-style presentation narrated via video by Rice to highlight some of his best known work, from 'Jesus Christ Superstar' to 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King.' The show also includes a number from 'Chess' called 'One Night in Bangkok' and a broad 'Circle of Life' finale.

The production is enhanced by anecdotes and visuals from Rice's personal archive, and audiences will learn how each song came to life as they are drawn into the mind of one of the world's iconic songwriters.

Additional cast members have joined the show during the rollout, many with Broadway and West End experience. They include Dayle Hodge, who just finished playing Frankie Valli in the hit West End musical, 'Jersey Boys'; JC McCann, who starred as Joseph in 'Jersey Boys' on the Broadway tour; Rachel Jerram, who appeared in 'Avenue Q' in both the West End and UK tour; Matias Polar, who appeared in 'FAME' on the US tour; and Ellie Ann, who performed in 'Saturday Night Fever' in the UK national tour.

'An Evening with Tim Rice' is also scheduled for the new Seabourn Ovation in 2018.

MSC Cruises-led group wins bid for Durban's new cruise terminal (**updated**)

MSC Cruises-led group wins bid for Durban's new cruise terminal (**updated**)

South Africa's Transnet National Ports Authority selected Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal, a private-public j/v between MSC Cruises and Africa Armada Consortium, as the winning bidder for the terminal project, valued at a reported 200m rand ($15m).

The group was awarded a 25-year concession.

The winning bidder was announced Tuesday by Transnet National Ports Authority ceo Richard Vallihu.

MSC Cruises has a 70% stake in Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal while the balance is held by Africa Armada Consortium, a black economic empowerment investment company focused on port and logistics developments.

'We are looking to make the new Durban Cruise Terminal a world-class facility capable of receiving cruise ships of latest generation,' said Mxolisis Nkululeko Mchunu, director of Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd. 'As the terminal operator, our aim is to immediately establish Durban as a credible cruise destination recognized globally so that we can attract cruise holidaymakers from all over the world.

'The new cruise terminal will become their first point of contact with the city and a gateway to the rest of South Africa,' he added.

Mchunu said it is hoped this private-public partnership will be a blueprint for the future development of other ports under the National Port Act.

According to local news reports, a two-berth facility is planned, and the terminal is expected to be operational in 2019.


Montréal's new cruise terminal plans first ship call June 10

(Rendering: Port of Montréal)
Holland America Line's Maasdam is scheduled to be the first ship alongside

The facility was ready to handle ships in May but due to a construction strike in Québec that left equipment on site, cruise vessels have continued to call at the tent terminal set up last year.

With construction workers back on the job today, operations are expected to normalize this week, according to Tony Boemi, vp growth and development at the Port of Montréal. The cruise terminal is functional for the 2017 season, he said.

However, some works, such as landscaping and the addition of the terminal's green roof, will continue during the summer.

The Montréal Port Authority had planned a private festivity June 12 to inaugurate the terminal, timed to the Cruise Canada/New England Symposium in Montréal, June 13-15.

That event has now been postponed until later in the summer.

Ulstein Verft inks LOI for X-BOW design expedition order

(Rendering: Ulstein Group)
Ulstein CX104 expedition cruise ship design features the distinctive X-BOW

The vessels will be designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions to incorporate the distinctive X-BOW design, and will be approximately 120 meters long and 20 meters wide. Deliveries are planned in 2019 and 2020.

A possible newbuild candidate could be Lindblad Expeditions, in light of the company's recent comment that it's close to firming an order for 2019 delivery. However, a Lindblad spokesperson told Seatrade Cruise News that 'given how close we are to signing a contract, we cannot comment on any shipyards at this time.'

Other operators are also planning expedition ship projects.

Meanwhile, Gunvor Ulstein, ceo, Ulstein Group, noted that for the past few years the company has worked strategically to target the exploration cruise market.
'This LOI proves that we are now confirming our position in this market,' Ulstein said. 'We are pleased to have been chosen as partner in this exciting project and we now look forward to turning this project into reality.'
The company said great focus has gone into creating a safe and comfortable platform and implementing environmental friendly and sustainable solutions. In addition, the design has emphasized giving passengers the best possible viewing experiences.
The vessels will surpass the latest regulatory demands for taking passengers into Arctic and Antarctic waters.

France's Macron to attend today's MSC Meraviglia handover

(Photo: MSC Cruises)
An STX France worker paints the name of the new cruise ship

The ceremony is planned for this afternoon.

Since taking office a couple of weeks ago, Macron has had a busy schedule meeting with world leaders including Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin.

MSC Cruises' 167,600gt newbuild is to sail from St Nazaire Thursday, headed for its Le Havre naming on Saturday evening in the presence of new French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. He is the former mayor of the city, which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year.

More news on MSC Meraviglia's handover and naming will follow on Seatrade Cruise News in the coming days.

Simwave signs crew training contract with Genting Hong Kong

The contract between Genting and Simwave was signed at Genting-owned MV Werften in Wismar. On the left, Simwave's Joost van Ree with Genting's head of newbuild, Gustaf Grönberg

The deal stretches for at least the next five years and involves crew from all Genting's cruise brands Star Cruises, Dream Cruises, and Crystal Cruises.

A new Simwave centre will also be built in Singapore in 2018.

'Safety and best-in-class services are our top priority,' notes Genting's svp marine operations & new building, Gustaf Grönberg.

'Simwave offers us state-of-the-art facilities to prepare our crews optimally to this end.'

An evaluation on the simulators in Barendrecht  forms part of the job application process for crew to be assigned to the vessels under construction. he noted.

As part of the collaboration, one of the Simwave 360-degree-projection ‘full mission’ simulators in Barendrecht will be based on the bridge of Dream Cruises’
Genting Dream, which debuted last November.

The bridge simulator has a vertical projection system which is globally unique. Alongside ‘all-round’ projection (on vertical cylindrical screens), eight projectors also display what’s happening on the water or the quayside, on both sides of the vessel.

'This makes it possible to simulate "docking operations" more realistically from the bridge wings,' explains Joost van Ree, co-founder of Simwave.

Delivery of the Simwave maritime training centre is scheduled for this November.

The collaboration with Genting Hong Kong begins from July 2017.



Saga reveals first look inside Spirit of Discovery

Spirit of Discovery's double-height ballroom-style ceiling taking inspiration from London’s top hotels

The ship will carry fewer than 1,000 passengers and will feature design cues from London’s finest hotels and restaurants.

A team of executive chefs has been working on the dining experience for the five restaurants, with many signature dishes inspired by, and using produce from, the destinations on each voyage.

Revealed are: The Outside Lido, offering alfresco dining as well as host to a range of entertainment and events, and the Main Dining Room, sporting an elegant and timeless design with a double-height ballroom-style ceiling and taking inspiration from London’s top hotels serving British-influenced and fine-dining cuisine, with menus using local produce when the ship is in port.
The Asian Restaurant offers authentic Eastern cuisine in a modern Asian speciality restaurant at no extra cost. A range of complimentary house wines will be available to passengers at no extra cost.
With a contemporary design, the Living Room will be the main hub of the ship, with mixed seating areas allowing passengers to meet and relax in comfort. Refreshments will be available throughout the day, including coffee, afternoon tea and pre- and post-dinner drinks.
Saga newbuild director David Pickett said, 'We’re really pleased to reveal these artist impressions of our new ship. We’ve spent a huge amount of time reviewing and taking inspiration from the best in contemporary British architecture and design.'

The first cruises go on sale this September.